I watched this video with Ann Voskamp, Jennie Allen, and Jeremy Courtney and I am just overcome with the “us versus them” mentality we live in and have grown up in, whether it’s in relation to ISIS and Iraq or in relation to those around us – “I’m a Baptist” or “I belong to this denomination” or “I make this much money” or “my standards are just higher” or “I’d never associate with people like that” – this WRECKS ME IN EVERY WAY.
How can we stand to live with these blinders on, to be separated so obviously and so detrimentally STILL as if that will somehow save us or let us cut the line to get into heaven first.
It’s not “I’m a christian and they’re killing my people so I’m going to help christians.” Instead, it’s “I’m made in the image of God and they are made in the image of God so I’m going to help them.”
We must refuse to be sectarian. It’s not a religious battle in that way. It’s about the image of God.
We have to go beyond the boundaries of our likeness, of our similarities. We have to have homeless friends, have Muslim friends, have friends that don’t look and walk and act just like us. And not just so we feel better about ourselves for helping someone we see as less fortunate than ourselves, but because it’s what we’re called to do – to uplift our brothers and sisters. To love God and love people. That’s just it – they are PEOPLE. They are created in the image of God, too. We are equals. Jesus did this… He had tax collector friends and friends who were prostitutes and associated himself with even those at the bottom of the barrel. Community is engrained within our very nature.
This is not an “us versus them” battle. When we lash out against others, we lash out at God. We question His sovereignty and His holiness. We say that He is not enough and what He has created is unworthy, trash, and that we can do better. We cannot continue to desecrate the image of God just because someone is DIFFERENT or believes differently or even because we don’t want to feel the pain and suffering that we must feel in order to be compassionate.
We all are created by God and hold holiness within us. Love doesn’t mean we agree with everything or that we will turn a blind eye. Love means we will suffer with someone else and sacrifice for them because they are created by our Creator. They are our equals. They are are family, our brothers and sisters. They also hold a piece of God’s holiness within them and they, too, were called to be much much more than this fallen world whispers in the darkness.
It’s painful and it’s hard to stay in a place where you feel the brokenness of others. It’s easier to blind yourself to seeing the hurt others experience and numb the pain or focus inwardly instead, exalting our own struggles and stay in our comfort bubbles – to get busier and busier in our little circles until we ignore what’s around us, but in reality, doesn’t God call us to continually be broken?
“Break my heart for what breaks Yours, everything I am for Your kingdom’s cause” we sing, but when God begins to open our eyes to the suffering around us and the needs of His people, we withdraw, retreat, and refuse to acknowledge that these things are happening on our watch. We refuse to admit that we, too, are broken, frail, and in need of others, and until we are able to embrace our own struggles and begin empowering those around us, we are walking in the chains of slavery and fear from which we have already been given freedom.
There are more children in foster care than ever before because families are broken.
There are more orphans.
There are more displaced people groups across the world.
There are mass killings.
There are diseases, famine, lack of clean water, and so much more that we are allowing on our watch while we fight all too hard for better internet, higher wages, and bigger cars. We’re too interested in ostracizing others and plastering our battles all over social media and our cars and our lives to say, “Oh, I’m not like them,” as we point fingers rather than seeking first the Kingdom of God and His people.
Church, brothers and sisters, we are called to more. We are desperately called to more and the burden is too great for us to continue in this disillusion that we are better and they are unholy or that we are not responsible for our lack of action.
Esther rose up in the face of sure death to save a people.
It’s our turn.